I’m sure 13 February is a special day in the lives of many people, and far more significant than simply the second anniversary of the day I started blogging. But that’s what it means to me, and as such it’s pretty special.
My only regret is that I do not have the time to write more. But since 13 February 2010 I have had the pleasure of meeting so many internet friends and fellow bloggers. I had the delight of being Freshly Pressed by Word Press for a story I wrote about Harry Potter. That one brought nearly 3,000 people to my site in two days, and 140 comments. It has been the single most read post, no let me be realistic, the single most visited post on my site. The search-engine terms used that still bring two or three people to Wondering Preacher every day are “Harry Potter”, “harry potter’s broomstick”, or just “broomstick”. I would wish for them to stay and read the stories (which I love to write), the meditations or other posts but, no, they want Harry Potter, and are probably terribly disappointed when they arrive here and discover that it’s not an HP fan site.
But there are those who came to read and enjoy and leave comments. And there are those who receive these ramblings by email every time I post. Thank you. You are the reason I write. Your presence encourages me to write more and to strive to write well. I am immensely grateful.
My first post was a meditation on 2 Corinthians 12:2-10, which I wrote during a workshop that launched my writing, particularly the stories. Allow me to share it again:
I am only what God is making of me.
I am all that God is making of me.
I will not be afraid of your opinion of me
But I will listen in case you bring a word from God.
I have nothing to give you
But everything to receive.
I cannot be what you want me to be
But I can be the space where you can discover yourself.
I have no strength or wisdom of my own
Only that which Christ nurtures within me.
I have no spark of wisdom with which to enlighten your mind
Or seed of wisdom to plant within your soul.
I can only offer the space and opportunity
to nurture that which is already within you.
- Image via Wikipedia
I have been away from here for far too long.
My colleague was asked how he manages to de-stress from our demanding and rather over-crowded days in Human Resources management. His answer was easy; he pounds the pavements. He’s a Comrades Marathon runner (six finishes so far). And me? Well, my best method of de-stressing is to write. You can imagine therefore, since writing hasn’t happened this last month, that things are rather frantic. But this blog doesn’t usually require parental guidance so I shall refrain from listing the frenzied activities crowding our diaries at the moment. One good thing, however, is that we have reached a settlement with our recognised union over wages, thus averting a strike that appeared imminent. Now THAT would have pushed up the stress levels.
In spite of all the fun and games, on 1 July I made it to 15 years working in Human Resources management at the local newspaper. That was celebrated with a gift which helped me buy the laptop I’m using to type this post. A more important milestone reached on 7 July was Jen and I celebrating 20 years of marriage. Quite a milestone; it seems more like ten but we won’t ask Jen how long it seems to her. Dinner at Porcelli’s last night, a wonderful Pacific-rim-cuisine restaurant here in Pietermaritzburg. John Porcelli is an Aussie who had restaurants in Sydney and elsewhere but has settled here, much to our delight. And on 21 June my grandson celebrated his first birthday in the rather wobbly city of Christchurch. Well, to be strictly correct, everyone else celebrated; he simply enjoyed the fuss and the fun things happening around him.
Milestones such as these help remind us of our roots and of our journey. We celebrate the journey and remember people and places along the way. We remind each other of what it has taken to get here and encourage each other for what lies ahead. The danger of course, one that Israel faced in the desert, is that we remember the past with rose-coloured spectacles and wish ourselves back to a distant time and a different place; we become dissatisfied with who we are, where we are, and who we are with. “If only…” becomes our watchword; the Promised Land is a threat rather than a gift, and Egypt is where we want to be.
I may not have an Egypt I want to go back to but I don’t find myself marching into the future with confident strides either. A pillar of cloud as a guide during the day and a pillar of fire in the night sounds like a pretty good deal (Exodus 13:21). I feel pretty sure that I would wait patiently or march forward in confident faith if it were only that easy. But the fact that the Israelites struggled, even with those advantages, makes me realise that things are never quite that simple. Is that really God’s fire, or is it Moses messing up the braai (barbecue) again? Are you sure that’s God’s cloud telling us to move on? Perhaps it’s just the early morning mist?
Meanwhile I write. This is where I can (sometimes) distinguish the mist from the cloud and the fire of God from the braai.
I’m not so sure about those people at WordPress who look after our blogs and make our lives easy and fun. Did I say “fun”?
A part-time blogger like me spends more time than he’d care to admit, checking on his vital statistics. No not those ones; the amazing graphs and detail provided by WordPress of people who visit (and, we like to think, read) our blogs. We can tell where you come from and which pages are read. But, of course, we don’t know who you are or who reads what. Your personal details don’t show up anywhere (this isn’t Facebook after all).
Of course, I know, we should just be writing for the sheer joy of it, whether or not anyone reads what we write. And we do, we do. But, still, it’s very difficult to leave the stats alone when they are so easy to find. Just one more look before…. Did they like that one? I haven’t written for a few days; have they stopped coming?
Last night I sneaked a peak before going to bed. What a shock I received. FOUR HUNDRED views! Ten times my normal traffic. What happened? What grabbed everyone’s attention and why? Did they like the “Squiggles on a page”? Surely I wasn’t Freshly Pressed again? But the number of views on individual pages didn’t add up. Then I moved the mouse over the graph with the 400 on it. A little window, which usually shows the date and the number of views, popped up. This time it read, “April Fools – 40 views”.
Well done WordPress, I guess. I have to confess, I did have a good laugh, sort of. But the rapid transition from ecstatic to…well, suffice to say, I’m going to have to call my therapist; there’s work to do.